Eternal Prairie: Exploring Rural Cemeteries of the West


122 pages
Contains Photos, Maps, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 1-894004-33-7
DDC 929'.5'09712






Reviewed by Nora D.S. Robins

Nora D.S. Robins is co-ordinator of Internal Collections at the
University of Calgary Libraries.


High River, Dorothy, Paradise Hill, Stavely, Ethelbert, Batoche,
Veregin: these are just a few of the rural cemeteries to be found in
Eternal Prairie.

Randy Adams spent over 20 years exploring and photographing homesteads,
small towns, churches, and cemeteries in rural Alberta, Saskatchewan,
and Manitoba. He traveled secondary highways, gravel roads, dirt and mud
tracks. He talked to caretakers and local residents. He soon realized
that what he was hearing was oral history and what he was photographing
was the enduring legacy of the pioneers and early settlers.

This book is a remarkable example of social history. Cemeteries record
the past. They document local history, biography, ethnic origin,
settlement patterns, disease, and cultural change. The latter is most
evident in grave markers, which range from the simple to Victorian
ornateness. The author provides a wealth of information on burial
customs and traditions, and on the significance of grave markers.
Wherever possible he tells the stories of those whose deaths inspired
and built the cemeteries.

The 125 mostly black-and-white photographs capture the lonely but
peaceful landscape that lends prairie cemeteries their uniqueness. The
book concludes with a three-page bibliography, a list of recommended Web
sites, and a good index.


Adams, R., “Eternal Prairie: Exploring Rural Cemeteries of the West,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 14, 2024,